Cleveland Public Library’s Mission to Be a Diverse and Inclusive Organization Extends beyond Its Buildings

Front view of diverse business people working together on laptop at conference room in a modern office

Cleveland Public Library is changing the way it is doing business. The Library has established a Supplier Diversity Council to ensure the Library’s suppliers are diverse and representative of the community the Library serves.

“When you look at the population of Cleveland, our business partnerships should mirror that population,” remarks Dr. Sadie Winlock, Chief Equity, Education & Engagement Officer of Cleveland Public Library. “The Supplier Diversity Council is part of the bigger picture surrounding the Library’s desire to be inclusive internally and externally across all layers.”

Any procurement/supplier contract of $10,000 or less, for example, will go to a minority-owned company. Larger contracts will undergo a bidding process that includes at least one bid from a minority-owned business. This can be seen in efforts to rebuild and reimagine our neighborhood branches. Cleveland Public Library is working with a diverse group of architects such as Moody Nolan, the nation’s largest African American architecture firm, and Vocon, a woman-owned firm. Two women-owned firms, Regency Construction Services and The AKA Team, will serve as construction managers at risk for the following projects: BrooklynEastmanLorainRockport, and Sterling.

“It’s important that as we serve our community, we’re providing equity and access, and that economic inclusion is reflective of the population that we’re serving,” adds John Lang, Chief Operations Officer at Cleveland Public Library.  

The Supplier Diversity Council is made up of Library leadership and prominent local business leaders including Chris Nance, Vice President, Construction & Inclusion Talent Initiatives for the Greater Cleveland Partnership; Glen Shumate, Executive Vice President of the Construction Employers Association; Gail Dolman-Smith, President and CEO, Paragon TEC; Roger Riachi, Owner, RFC Contracting; Gregory G. Guice, Esq., Partner, Reminger Co. LPA; and Jeff Epstein, Executive Director, MidTown Cleveland.

Along with Dr. Winlock, Supplier Diversity Council members within Cleveland Public Library include John Lang, Chief Operations Officer; Carrie Krenicky, Chief Financial Officer; Carol Hubler, Procurement & Contract Coordinator; Bryan Szalewski, Chief Legal Officer; and Twyla Turner, Director of Inclusion and Leadership Development.

According to Shumate, “The work of inclusion starts with the institutional owner—in this case, the Library—making a commitment and a pledge to help support the local economy.” The Supplier Diversity Council meets regularly to identify local underrepresented vendors, to engage diverse suppliers, and, in some cases, encourage partnerships between major organizations and minority-owned companies.

“This is an opportunity for Cleveland Public Library to be a trendsetter among public libraries and to make sure we’re impacting the community,” adds Twyla Turner, Director of Inclusion & Leadership Education at Cleveland Public Library.

Learn more about the Supplier Diversity program and contractor opportunities with Cleveland Public Library.